Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following matters:
- Contempt Proceedings vs. Selim Uddin and Others Jamaat Leaders
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid: Cross examination of Investigating Officer, Accused Present
Proceedings before Tribunal 2 began with contempt proceedings against Jamaat leaders Selim Uddin, Hamidur Rahman, Azad MP and Rafiqul Islam. Selim Uddin was arrested on 8 March 2013 under an arrest warrant issued by the Tribunal on 6 March. Today the Tribunal passed an order against the parties, stating that the submitted written explanation for the allegedly contemptuous behavior was not satisfactory. Therefore proceedings under Section 11(4) of the ICT Act are issued against the accused. Defense counsel Tajul Islam, who had earlier been appointed as counsel to the four Jammat leaders, was not present in the court during the session. The Tribunal scheduled the next hearing on the matter for 9 May 2013, and stated that any further submissions, explanations or observations must be filed before that date.
The Tribunal then resumed hearing the cross-examination of Prosecution witness 17, Investigation Officer Abdur Razzaq . The Defense continued to highlight the various procedural flaws in the investigation process and the underlying deficiencies in the investigation’s findings.
Chief Prosecutor vs. Mujahid
Cross-Examination of Investigation Officer
The Defense resumed its questioning and asked whether the witness went to Chorfasion as part of his investigation. The witness replied that he did not visit the area. He asserted that another Investigation Officer, Nur Hossain, investigated the case against Abul Kalam Azad. He acknowledged that some of the witnesses in that case are also witnesses in the case against Mujahid. The Investigation Officer stated that he interviewed them separately.
The witness stated that he began his investigation in Dhaka on 5 December 2010. He first visited the Daily Jugantor office, which is the office of witness Mahbub Kamal, in the Notre Dame College area. The witness stated that the area is called Arambag. The Defense objected and said it is not called Arambag and suggested that the Investigating Officer does not actually know the location. The witness said he did not go anywhere else as part of the investigation.
On 12 June 2011 the Investigation Officer went to Elephant Road to talk to AKM Habibur Huq Monu. He recorded the statements. On 27 July 2011, the witness said he visited Mohammadpur Physical Training College in the Mohammadpur area which was the headquarters for the Rajakar and Al-Badr forces during the Liberation War. He stayed there for two hours and recorded the statement of Mr Rustam Ali (witness), whose father Mr Rehan Ali was the clerk of the college in 1971. He also spoke to the current Principal of the Institution, Tarek Iqbal Khan, but did not record his statement as he was only in Class 8 in 1971. Tarek Khan’s father, Mohibulla Khan Majlish, was the Principal of the Institute in 1971 and is still living. The witness said that Mr Tarek told him that his family lived there until the beginning of April 1971, and later moved. The Investigation Officer also said that Rustom Ali told him that his father, Rehan Ali, sent the family out of Dhaka in 1971.
The Defense suggested that the witness failed to record the current Principal’s statement because he did not incriminate the Mujahid, and did not agree to say that Mujahid visited the Rajakar and Al Badr headquarters during the war. The Investigating Officer denied the allegation. He admitted that he only took still photographs of the site and did not make a sketch map.
The witness testified that he next went to the Old MP Hostel and visited the former party office of Jamaat-e-Islam, which is now Noor-e-Belal Mosque. He admitted that he did not verify the records of its holding number (Holding No. 142) to ascertain that it was in fact the former Jamaat Office.
The Investigating Officer said that on 18 August 2011 he questioned witness Zahir Uddin Jalal in the ICT Investigation Room from 11 am until 6 pm. He said that he saw Jalal’s certificate for being a Freedom Fighter but did not retain or copy it. The Defense asked whether the witness verified the authenticity of the certificate, but one of the Judges the interjected that such questions are inappropriate because the Investigation Officer is as he is not supposed to verify the authenticity of such documents. The Judge asserted that it is responsibility of the judicial bench to form an opinion on the authenticity and truth of the evidence. The Defense registered their disagreement and stated that the Investigation Officer is obligated to assess the prima facie authenticity of evidence presenting it to the Tribunal for the final decision.
The Investigation Officer testified that he visited Nakhalpara MO Hostel with Jalal but did not make a sketch map of the site. He also went to victim Wazed Ali’s house at 269 Fakirapu Commissioner Lane. In 1971, Islami Chatra Shangha’s office was allegedly situated at 15 Purana Paltan, which is now 48/1 Purana Paltan.
In addition to the statements collected from the various individuals, the Investigation Officer stated that he also collected information by visiting the Bangla Academy, Muktijuddho Jadughor (Liberation War Museum), and the National Museum. He said that Ms Monowara Begum, who is the Investiation Officer in other cases pending before the ICT, also assisted him with the investigation. Additionally, the witness testified that he collected a number of books for the purposes of the investigation. The witness referred to the book Maa (Mother) by Mr Anisul Huq. He admitted that he did not interview the author. The defense referred to the preface of the book to suggest that it is a novel and is only based on some historical incidents. The Judge again intervened to state that the witness cannot comment on the content or thruthfulness of the book.
The Investiation Officer also referred to the book Al-Badr, by Mr Selim Mansur Khaled. His said he interviewed the author but did not record his statement. The original book is in Urdu and has been translated by Mr Saiful Islam Khan, a professor of Persian language and literature of the Dhaka University. The Investigation Officer recorded the statement of Siaful Islam Khan. The Defense noted that on page 135 and 136 the book describes the events on 16th December, 1971. On that day, the chairman of Islami Chatra Shongho- purportedly Mujahid – gave a speech . The original text refers to the end note as its source but the same is not present in the translation. The defense highlighted that the book does not state that the accused Mujahid was a Razakar and does not establish any link between the Accused and the Pakistan Army.